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Iranian brand poses grave threat to Kashmiri saffron

Written by: Staff

Srinagar, Apr 26 (UNI) The Aromatic-Medicinal Plants Growers Association of India (APGAI) today expressed serious concern over the threat posed to the Kashmiri saffron, which has a unique and distinct quality, by adulteration and the import of Iranian saffron.

It also appealed to the Centre to take bold initiative in getting tusli, saffron and other aromatic and medicinal plants patented.

The issue came up at a seminar on 'Farmers Awareness on Horticulture Crops' organised by APGAI in collaboration with the National Horticulture Board (NHB) of the Union Agriculture Ministry here.

''Kashmiri saffron is well known for its fascinating fragrance, attractive colour and superior flavour. To save the economic interest of saffron growers of Kashmir, we must take immediate steps for its protection,'' APGAI President Thakur Randhir Singh said.

India is one of the leading 12 bio-diversity countries with presence of more than 45,000 different plant species. The country's diversity is unmatched due to the presence of 16 different agro climatic zones, 10 vegetative zones and 15 biotic provinces besides it has thousands of aromatic plants, majority of which have good medicinal value.

''By utilising its rich heritage, soil diversity, climatic condition and rich fauna and flora, India is set to become a Rs 20,000-crore aromatic and medicinal market, and a global supplier. China is at present exporting herbs worth Rs 24,000 crore followed by Thailand with Rs 14,000 crore while as India's share is only Rs 345 crore,'' the APGAI President said.

In a recent letter, the NHB had asked all the state Directors of Horticulture to extend full cooperation in promoting the holistic development of aromatic and medicinal plants.

''India is the land of life-giving Sanjivini and has rarest herbs patented and cultivated on commercial scale,'' Thakur Singh added.

He hailed the decision to bring this vital segment of economy under the organised sector.

Stressing the need for preserving the world famous 'Ambri' brand of apples, the APGAI President said the growers have to compete in the global market.

He also suggested to bring the NHB, the Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture, the state Horticulture Department and the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences (SKUAST) under one platform to meet the challenges faced by the apple growers.

Mr Singh appealed to apple growers to start intercropping in the orchids after growing aromatic-medicinal plants which could be a good source of income.

Speaking at the seminar, Apple Growers Association of India (AGAI) President R Chauhan called upon farmers to make good use of new techniques and incentives offered by the NHB.

He also informed about the value of growing new varieties of apple in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal.


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